Biography of Benjamin F. Parsons
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Benjamin F. and Leonora Bartlett Parsons moved to Hawkinsville. Georgia, from Massachusetts in 1878, bringing with them two sons, Charles L. and William Naramore. Mr. Parsons first engaged in farming, and afterward became a member of the firm of Ferguson and Parsons, and later of the firm of R. F. DeLamar and Company.
For four years he served as postmaster. During the latter years of his life he represented the Mutual Life Insurance Company, and died in 1910. Mrs. Parsons taught in the schools of Hawkinsville for fifteen years, and in the Sunday school of the Methodist Church for a long period of time. A brilliant woman intellectually, naturally outstanding in all religious, cultural and civic organizations of our town, she left a lasting influence on those with whom she came in contact. She died in 1920.
Charles Lathrop Parsons, chemist and educator, born in New Marlboro, Mass., March 23, 1867, was educated in Hawkinsville, Ga., and at Cushing Academy, Mass., and Cornell University, where he obtained his B.S. degree in 1888.
Upon leaving Cornell, he became assistant chemist in the New Hampshire Experiment Station at Hanover, and in 1890, after graduation, he taught chemistry at Hanover, Darham, N. H.
In 1911, Dr. Parsons was appointed chief mineral chemist of the Bureau of Mines in Washington, D. C. In 1919 he resigned to enter private practice, having served his country efficiently eight arduous years. During that time he personally obtained funds for the establishment of the National Radium Institute, and had full charge of building the radium plant and development of methods of radium extraction. During the World War, through his efforts, this country was made independent of foreign countries for materials for explosives, and his government sent him abroad for investigation of nitrate plants in Europe. Since 1907 he has been secretary of the American Chemical Society, during which time the society has increased in membership from 3,000 to 18,500. Honors conferred upon him are Doctor of Science, by the University of Maine; Doctor of Chemistry, by the University of Pittsburgh; Nichols Medal for research work; and Legion of Honor, officer grade, by the French government.
In 1919, in Brussels, he was elected vice president of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, and acted as America’s representative at the conference held in Rome in 1920.
He was made honorary member of the Society of Chemical Industry (England), in 1932, and also honorary member of Roumanian Chemical Society in 1925. He received the Priestley Medal, America’s highest chemical honor, in 1932, for “distinguished service to chemistry.”
He was married at Van Ettenville, N. Y., December 29, 1887, to Alice Douglas, daughter of James Douglas Robertson and Anna (Guerard) Robertson. They have five children: Leonora Elizabeth (Mrs. C. P. Cooper), Charles Lathrop, Jr., Anna Guerard (Mrs. James R. Vaughan), Alice Enith (Mrs. James G. Bennett), and Priscilla Bartlett Parsons (deceased).
William Naramore -Parsons, born October 11, 1869, owner and manager of Lathrop Oil Mill Company, and president of the Hawkinsville Cotton Mills, was one of the organizers and vice president since organization of the Planters Bank in 1896. He was also organizer and president of the First National Bank in 1908, and was director of Hawkinsville Bank and Trust Company for fifteen years. He was a director of the Wrightsville and Tennille Railroad since 1900, and president of the Boston, Inc., for thirty-one years. He was a director of the Fourth National Bank, Macon, Ga., and the Macon Savings Bank for a number of years.
He supported all worthwhile enterprises in the town and county. On October 8, 1895, he married Caroline Waterman, daughter of J. T. and Anna Brown Waterman. They have four children: John Alden Parsons, born October 12, 1897; graduated with A.B. degree from Emory University, and was a member of Chi Phi fraternity. He married Dorothy Stuart, Akron, Ohio, September 10, 1921, and has two children, John Alden Parsons, Jr., and Margaret Stuart Parsons.
William Naramore Parsons, born September 13, 1900; graduated from Georgia School of Technology, with A.B. degree; was a member of Chi Phi fraternity. He married Christine Sinclair, Atlanta, October 9, 1926. They have one son, William Naramore Parsons III.
Frank Waterman Parsons, born December 19, 1901. Graduated from Annapolis. After explosion of turret on U.S.S. Mississippi, he received official commendation from Secretary of the Navy Wilbur for “efficiency and courage in keeping with the traditions of the Navy.” He was married October 21, 1926, to Betty Stone at San Diego, California.
Caroline Leonora Parsons, born March 17, 1910 (Mrs. J. D. Lester, Jr.), of Montezuma, Ga., graduated with A.B. degree from Wesleyan College, her mother’s alma mater. She was married to Jas. D. Lester, Jr., Montezuma, Ga., October 27, 1932. They have one daughter, Caroline Waterman Lester.